Cranberry Snowdrift Bars

Cranberry Snowdrift Bars

This Cranberry Snowdrift Bars recipe features a crisp, buttery shortbread crust topped with sweet/tart cranberry sauce and then crowned with a layer of sweet, white meringue. Swirl the meringue on top to make pretty peaks and shapes –the “snowdrifts” of the title.

Image: Peter Muka

Adapted from A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies. Recipe © 2003 by Dédé Wilson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

Cranberry Snowdrift Bars
Makes: Makes 16 bars
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling and Topping:
  • 1 cup whole cranberry sauce, not jellied (such as Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce)
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Coat an 8-inch square pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
  2. For the Crust: Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
  3. Beat butter with electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar gradually and continue beating on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Turn machine off, add about one-third of the flour mixture, then turn machine onto low-speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended, scraping down bowl once or twice. Pat crust into an even layer in prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight, if desired.
  5. Meanwhile, position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Bake crust for about 40 minutes or until completely dry to the touch; the edges might be slightly darker than the center. Place pan on rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Spread cranberry sauce evenly over crust using a small offset spatula or back of a spoon.
  8. Place egg whites in a clean, grease free bowl and beat with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually and whip until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Beat in vanilla extract. Spread meringue evenly over cranberry layer. Use the back of a teaspoon to make peaks and swirls in the meringue.
  9. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until meringue has taken on a tinge of color. Place pan on rack to cool. Cut into bars (4x4). Bars may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days but are best the day of baking.


Bakepedia Tip

  • For convenience, we have used canned cranberry sauce, but feel free to use your own homemade. Just make sure it is thick.
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